Victory is a Journey; A Modern Kaizen Approach

The new year doesn’t have to be about new beginnings and starting over, but rather refining the processes and practices we use daily to make ourselves better. Kaizen speaks to the idea of refinement as a journey.

kai·zen

ˈkīzən/

noun

  1. a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc.

Victory is not a static experience. It is most optimized when manifested as a journey. Kaizen– a traditional Japanese business practice– is part philosophy and part process. As a philosophy and process, Kaizen embraces that the current culture or practice works, yet with continual improvement, that culture or practice can be accomplished by critical thinking. Kaizen allows us to mindfully concentrate on the now, enjoying a sense of success, while staying focused as we reach beyond.

George Pitagorsky, change and performance specialist, writes about his own interpretation of Kaizen. He suggests we can trust the peripheral vision of our minds specifically to drive toward success by acting on researched data– and overall, simply by acting upon our hunches. Victory and ongoing success is driven by this trust in our mental peripheral vision.

Let’s consider how companies operate using the Kaizen way.

THEY:

  • Set goals and provide any necessary background.
  • Review the current state of affairs, then develop plans for improvements.
  • Initiate and implement improvements where applicable.
  • Review and fix what doesn’t jive.
  • Report results and determine follow-up action.
  • Plan for the future.

A more objective approach complements the philosophical side of Kaizen:

  • Plan (develop a hypothesis)
  • Do (run experiment)
  • Check (evaluate results)
  • Act (refine your experiment and enact the next phase)

Essentially, the consistent practice of Kaizen in our personal or professional lives helps develop the mindset for effective, ongoing improvement and long term value in the journey.

Want to make the Kaizen way work for your personal and professional flow? Run through this checklist before you get started:

  1. Do you accept uncertainty?
    • When you do, it frees up your mind to live and work efficiently in the flow. If you follow Pitagorsky’s advice and mindfully couple your research and former experiences with your intuition, that peripheral mental vision he promotes can evolve naturally.
  2. Do you have a self-inquiry practice in place?
    • Do you journal or perform a mindful check-in regularly? Instead of re-inventing the wheel with brand new resolutions each year, referring back to the past year’s accomplishments and challenges can help you understand how to shift your processes to meet your goals on your personal success journey.
      • If you’re new to this type of checking-in and you don’t journal but want to start, consider creating a meditative, mental picture in your mind of the past year. Divide your meditation into the seasons. Think about where you were and how you were feeling. From each of those “places” how were you manifesting from your higher self? What were you calling in to receive and how were the messages delivered?
  3. Do you believe that Kaizen can work for you no matter where you are in life? We recently discussed the balance between confidence and humility. Because Kaizen is such a yin/yang philosophy, consider how striking a balance between confidence and humility is key to your ongoing victory.

What’s your Kaizen way? How are you trusting in and refining the process? How did you get started, and what worked for you and what didn’t? How will you refine in the year ahead?

Christine has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. She is available for both private and professional consultations. Please contact her here.

Artwork by Michelle Favin of Whys LA for Poppy + Seed. Connect with her @whyslosangeles.

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